BeamAndGo Part 2 : Product Review

As a follow up on my previous post, which provided a snapshot of OFW-centered start-up, BeamAndGo, a more in-depth review of its platform is in order. Recall that BeamAndGo focuses on cashless remittance. Through collaboration with local stores and service providers, OFW’s are given another option to support their loved ones at home.

Instead of the traditional pera padala, BeamAndGo utilizes digital gift certificates which enable the recipient to directly acquire the targeted goods/services without the hassle of visiting a remittance center. Aside from being a faster and easier mode of transaction for both sender and recipient, this method also eliminates the prospect of financial mismanagement, which has been a constant issue concerning households and families.

Now, let’s delve into the specifics.

BeamAndGo offers a neat and straightforward user-interface for its website and corresponding mobile app. The current balance is instantly viewable from the homepage, together with the hamburger menu which acts as a portal to all possible transactions as well as the customization of user settings. The list of available products is likewise readily accessible, thus, enabling quicker purchases. Surprisingly, the sign-up process takes only seconds to complete given the option to simply hook up your existing Facebook account.

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Friendly and straightforward UI

“Topping-up” your balance is relatively easy, with the LoadAndGo prepaid card. I once again appreciated, the simplicity and ease in which I was able to top-up P1000 worth of credit by merely scratching the silver film and inputting the revealed 12-character PIN into the LoadAndGo section of the site. With my balance now “topped-up”, I proceeded with my first transaction.

Top-up your balance in 3 Steps
Top-up your balance in 3 Steps

Heading on to the list of available purchases, my first impulse was to buy either Globe or Smart e-load. Unfortunately, they were not yet available at the time, together with Meralco, PLDT, SSS and PhilHealth. I decided to be of help to my household and availed myself of a SUPER 8 digital gift certificate, worth P1000. The checkout process can be compared to that of Lazada’s and Amazon’s: plain, quick, and enjoyable. All I had to do now, was wait for the SMS confirmation, which would also serve as the digital gift certificate itself.

As with its top-up load and checkout process, the SMS didn’t disappoint. I received a message on my phone a few minutes later, informing me that I can now use my digital GC at any of SUPER 8’s branches. (Take note that a valid I.D is required for the digital GC to be accommodated. In my case, a school I.D. did the trick.)

SUPER 8 readily acknowledged the digital GC, which absolutely stunned me. Compared to previous experiences, stores participating in partnerships were less than accommodating when it came to the customer presenting anything other than cash or credit card. I could only assume that BeamAndGo maintains an exceptional relationship with its partners. The only setback however was the lack of pre-printed slips necessary to complete the use of the digital GC. This made the pay-out process considerably slower, without which, would have been a near-perfect experience.

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Yours truly, with the purchased goods using the digital GC.

Once again, it is the vision and the mission of this company that pushes it forward, and with it, our beloved OFW’s. There is nothing nobler than genuinely trying to help our fellow men, whether it be through something as simple as a pat on the back, or through the unbelievable heights that technology could attain just to bridge the miles that keep families apart.  BeamAndGo is just another part of that bridge.

 

 

 


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21 Bitcoin Computer: A Step Further towards Bitcoin Integration

The 21 Bitcoin Computer’s primary objective is to make bitcoin a standard feature of all web services, seeking to put a “bitcoin” button right next to PayPal and credit card options. As the first platform to offer both hardware and software support for Bitcoin, it has been an eye-candy for most of the open source community, myself included.

Built on top of the Raspberry Pi, with a customized bitcoin-mining ASIC and a heat sink, it is a one of a kind MVP. It is a foreshadowing of the things that Bitcoin will get itself into for the next couple of years. Intended to be a readily available stream of satoshis for app development, services and devices, it takes Bitcoin integration to a more developer-friendly atmosphere. Simply typing “21 mine” in its command line interface will have already get you started with either background or foreground mining, ready for your bitcoin-powered apps and services.

To give you an overview of just how versatile this platform is, here are some of the stuff you can do with it:

  • Create your own bitcoin game
  • Make a fully functional Bitcoin-payable API with flask
  • Delve into Bitcoin accelerated computing via a remote server
  • Translate English to Chinese (and get paid with BTC of course)
  • Receive an SMS from anyone for Bitcoin (without revealing your phone number)

If those things got you all worked up, then head out to their official site for the step-by-step guides.

It is ironic however that this treat could not be purchased with our beloved BTC (what a sham). The team themselves states that:

“payment in bitcoin is not as big an improvement at the present time over standard ways to purchase macroscopic physical goods….. where Bitcoin really shines is for micropayments, as a medium of exchange for digital goods and services.”

Be that as it may, the community’s outrage should be expected, and let’s hope that 21 INC changes their predicament on the matter.

 

 

OFW’s are the the modern-day heroes of our country. They embody the sacrificial spirit of the Filipino people. To leave one’s homeland, one’s family, in order to pave the future for one’s loved ones is not an easy thing to do. That may be a bit of an understatement. It requires total dedication, and selfless love in order to accomplish such a task. Over the years, more and more of our kababayan decide to trod this path. They send money overseas in order to support the pieces of their heart that they left back home.

BeamandGo: Philippine Festival 2015 at Yoyogi Park, Tokyo, Japan

BeamandGo Team in Japan showing some love

This is where most of the complications lie. Money has always been a source root of complexities, misunderstandings, and issues. There have been many cases in which the money ,which was earned through hours, weeks, months, of sweat in a foreign, alien land, does not find its mark. In other words, it has become misused, and instead of being of help to the designated people, they become wasted on the guilty pleasures of an irresponsible individual. It has been portrayed countless times, a tito or tita who takes care of the OFW’s children, use the money to gratify their own selves. This is a very grave situation, and one which Beam and Go, aims to eradicate.

Headed by CEO, Jonatha E. Chua, their aim is to provide an alternative way to our OFW’s to support their loved ones instead of just sending cash. They present the option to buy food, medicine, health care, insurance, education and other essentials for your family in a hassle-free way. How is this possible? Their answer lies in digital gift certificates. These certificates will be directly sent to the phones of the target individuals. This eliminates the middle man, making it a purely straight transaction.

BeamandGo will also soon be integrating Bitcoin as an added alternative, together with the digital certificates. Due to its being a P2P (peer-to-peer) system, it fits the goal and aim of BeamandGo: to eliminate the middle man. In this new light, Bitcoin can actually be factor of the bridge that will gap OFW’s and their families. We are still yet to see if it will deliver on its potential, and if can go side-by-side with the already existing digital certificates that the OFW’s are more opt to use at the moment.

The start-up also makes their presence known through outreach activities. Only recently, the Beam and Go team went to Iriga city to meet with a number of OFW’s and their families, saying that digital certificates could never amount to human interaction.

This is a factor which start-ups often tend to ignore, the fact that technology is only a medium in which we express the solution to a problem that we are trying to solve. We are not robots, or pieces of artificial intelligence. We are still brothers and sisters at our cores.